Improving Your Medical School Application
Why didn’t I receive an invitation to submit a secondary application?
VCOM will extend an invitation to complete a secondary application to candidates who meet our competitive qualifications and seem to have promise in gaining an interview slot. Those who do not meet the competitive qualifications or possess characteristics to meet the VCOM mission will not receive an invitation to submit a secondary application. VCOM does not want to impose the secondary application fee or time commitment on candidates unless they have met the minimum qualifications or have promise in continuing on to the interview stage of the application process.
If I receive a secondary application invitation, will I get an interview?
Though only candidates who submit a secondary application and all supporting documentation are considered for the next step in the admissions process (i.e. interview), not all of those who are invited to submit a secondary application will have the opportunity to interview. The admissions process is competitive, and about 300 individuals for each campus will be extended an interview to fill 188 spots on the Virginia campus, 162 on the Carolinas campus, and 162 on the Auburn campus.
If I do not receive an invitation to submit a secondary application this year, how can I improve my application for consideration next year?
If your GPA is below our average: Candidates should have achieved at least a 3.2 science and cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. The admissions process is competitive, and a higher grade point average (above 3.4) results in improved chances for acceptance. VCOM places emphasis on the last 120 credit hours, the sciences, and required courses when choosing between competitive applicants. VCOM also places emphasis on the applicant’s interview, if he or she reaches that stage of the application process. The average GPA for acceptance is 3.5 to 3.6. Candidates may consider these options to improve their GPA:
- VCOM/Bluefield Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences program: Candidates who complete the Master’s program with the stated benchmarks will have the opportunity to be admitted to the DO program. This is a good option for applicants who need to enhance their credentials or those who have been out of the academic environment for more than three years.
- Enroll in other Post-Baccalaureate or Master’s level (science or pre-medical) programs. Since VCOM focuses on the last 120 hours of coursework, this is a good option for the student with lower than desired freshman or sophomore grades. He or she can bolster the science GPA in a one or two year upper level program.
- Repeat science courses. Before choosing to repeat lower level science courses, consult with the Office of Admissions, as doing so may or may not be advisable. Taking new upper level courses may be preferred (see next point).
- Enroll (and do well) in upper level (300/400) science courses.
Will I be considered if my MCAT is below 500?
VCOM puts a strong emphasis on the GPA, but the MCAT is weighed in connection with the GPA and other personal qualities of each applicant. While a competitive MCAT score begins at 500, all factors are considered in the admissions process and retaking the MCAT may not be advisable. Thus, the applicant who is a few points within the MCAT score 500 should consult with the Office of Admissions, as other areas of improvement may be advisable.
Will I be considered if I completed most of my science classes in a junior or community college, and have not taken upper level science courses?
VCOM requires at least six credits in upper-level sciences (typically 300 or 400 level) from a four-year college to meet our minimum requirements. If you attended a community or junior college and took some of the prerequisite courses, you must at least take the six upper-level science credits at a four-year college or university. Demonstrating strong command of upper-level coursework and presenting a solid MCAT score will make a candidate more competitive. Also, completing biochemistry as an upper-level course with more than six upper-level credits generally increases the competitiveness of an applicant.
Secondary Application FAQs
How do I begin the VCOM Secondary Application?
You will be invited to complete the VCOM secondary application by email. Only applicants who meet our initial screening receive this invitation. Directions for completing the electronic secondary application will be included in the email.
What happens if I forget my password for the secondary application?
You may contact the VCOM admissions office at admissions [at] vcom.edu and we will assist you. Remember to make note of your password when you receive it, as it may take a week or longer for us to retrieve one for you.
What if I can’t finish the VCOM secondary application in one sitting?
You may save your application and go back to it at your earliest convenience. The “Save” button is located at the bottom of the application.
What can I do if I do not know my ACT, SAT, and/or GRE score?
In the event you are unable to recall or obtain your previous standardize test scores, please respond with “do not recall.” Please attempt to locate and submit this information if at all possible.
How long can my essay responses be?
Your essay responses will be limited to 500 words, which you can track with the word counter at the bottom of the essay box. Please do not cut and paste into the essay box, as this will embed unseen spaces and characters that will increase your word count.
How can I pay the application processing fee?
We encourage you to pay via PayPal; however, you may send a check or money order to VCOM.
- You do not need a PayPal account, you can pay as a guest. PayPal instructions are at the bottom of the secondary application.
If you are not paying with PayPal, please make your check or money order payable to VCOM and mail to:
Office of Admissions
2265 Kraft Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Do I need a letter of recommendation from an osteopathic physician? Will a letter of recommendation from an allopathic physician be accepted in its place?
In order to complete your application and be considered for an interview, you must provide a letter of recommendation from an Osteopathic or Allopathic physician.
- For details about submitting your letters of recommendations see How to Apply
If my evaluator already wrote a letter, does he or she need to submit the evaluation form?
There is no need for your evaluator to duplicate his or her efforts if already submitting a letter.
Does VCOM accept letters of recommendation from letter services?
Yes, VCOM accepts letters of recommendation from VirtualEvals, Interfolio, the AACOMAS letter service and USPS.
Is VCOM willing to accept a letter of recommendation from a DO resident physician or family member to meet the requirement?
VCOM will accept letters of recommendation from practicing DOs or upper level DO residents (no interns or first year residents) if the student has met with and/or shadowed that DO. VCOM will accept letters from a family member physician only as a reference letter and will not count toward the physician letter requirement. Competitive applicants will have shadowing experience with the DO who writes his/her letter of recommendation (typically around 24 hours), demonstrating his or her commitment to the profession and understanding of the practice of osteopathic medicine.
I do not know any osteopathic physicians. How do I establish a shadowing relationship?
We suggest contacting an osteopathic physician and requesting to establish a shadowing relationship. You may find a list of osteopathic physicians in your area by accessing the American Osteopathic Association website at www.osteopathic.org. Once you log on to that site, click the link for “Find a DO.” Another option is to contact your state osteopathic medical association to request a list of osteopathic physicians in your area. Here are some of the state osteopathic medical associations near our campuses.
|South Carolina||http://www.scdos.org/||(800) 621-1773|
|North Carolina||http://ncoma.org/||(919) 573 - 5437|